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Toyota to recall 1.66m cars

Japanese auto giant announced a recall over safety concerns of faulty brakes.

Japanese auto giant Toyota has announced a recall of around 1.66m cars over safety concerns of faulty brakes.

About half the cars are being recalled in the US which include 2005 to 2006 Avalons, 2004 through 2006 non-hybrid Highlanders; 2004 through 2006 Lexus RX330s; and 2006 Lexus GS300s, IS250s and IS350s.

The cause for the US recall, the carmaker said was that "a small amount of the brake fluid could slowly leak from the brake master cylinder, resulting in illumination of the brake warning lamp."

17,400 models built between 2003 and 2006 are being recalled in the UK over brake concerns and stalling engines.

Toyota has assured customers that repairs for both the engine and brake related problems will take no longer than three hours and will be undertaken at no cost to them.

600,000 cars in Japan have also been recalled in Japan.

Additionally 134,000 cars in China have been recalled over a different problem of rusting rear disk brakes.

"We made commitments earlier this year to be more responsive and attentive to our customers," said Brian Lyons, safety and communications spokesman for Toyota.

"We are viewing this recall as a continuation of that commitment," he added.

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Is anyone prepared to solve the NHS funding crisis?

As long as the political taboo on raising taxes endures, the service will be in financial peril. 

It has long been clear that the NHS is in financial ill-health. But today's figures, conveniently delayed until after the Conservative conference, are still stunningly bad. The service ran a deficit of £930m between April and June (greater than the £820m recorded for the whole of the 2014/15 financial year) and is on course for a shortfall of at least £2bn this year - its worst position for a generation. 

Though often described as having been shielded from austerity, owing to its ring-fenced budget, the NHS is enduring the toughest spending settlement in its history. Since 1950, health spending has grown at an average annual rate of 4 per cent, but over the last parliament it rose by just 0.5 per cent. An ageing population, rising treatment costs and the social care crisis all mean that the NHS has to run merely to stand still. The Tories have pledged to provide £10bn more for the service but this still leaves £20bn of efficiency savings required. 

Speculation is now turning to whether George Osborne will provide an emergency injection of funds in the Autumn Statement on 25 November. But the long-term question is whether anyone is prepared to offer a sustainable solution to the crisis. Health experts argue that only a rise in general taxation (income tax, VAT, national insurance), patient charges or a hypothecated "health tax" will secure the future of a universal, high-quality service. But the political taboo against increasing taxes on all but the richest means no politician has ventured into this territory. Shadow health secretary Heidi Alexander has today called for the government to "find money urgently to get through the coming winter months". But the bigger question is whether, under Jeremy Corbyn, Labour is prepared to go beyond sticking-plaster solutions. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.